There are a lot of things one can learn in parenting books about being a parent, but being a new mom isn’t one of them. Nothing said online or in books can prepare you for meeting your child for the first time, both the absolute delight of it – and the absolute terror.
Being a mom is certainly a cause for celebration, but it’s not without its downsides. The media often sells the idea that being a new mom equates to being joyous, fulfilled, and happy, but what if you’re not? Does that mean you’re not a good mom?
The truth is, motherhood can be rewarding, but it’s also a really tough job, and sometimes you need a little help. Going to online therapy for new moms may just be the answer you need to navigate this wonderful, confusing stage of your life.
Why Do I Need Therapy?
Many people hold the assumption that being a new mom gives women a magical power that allows them to know how to be good moms right off the bat. But aside from the physical exhaustion that comes with giving birth, being a new mom also comes with a host of emotions that may be difficult to process.
Here are several reasons why you may need online therapy as a new mom.
However, while baby blues is a condition that doesn’t require medical attention, it can escalate to postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis, both of which are serious conditions that need the help of a postpartum depression therapist and sometimes medications.
Postpartum depression symptoms include loss of interest or pleasure, insomnia or hypersomnia, loss of energy, recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Postpartum psychosis is more serious, with symptoms including hallucinations and delusions as well as manic and low moods.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may benefit from online therapy for new moms.
Stress and anxiety
Taking care of a newborn child is stressful enough by itself, but new moms also have to deal with the expectations of being a new mother, issues of support after having the baby, societal scripts of motherhood, and the transition to being a new mom. All these things contribute to women’s experiences with postpartum anxiety.
While some moms certainly are resilient enough to handle stress and anxiety on their own, there’s no shame in admitting you may need a little help juggling all your new responsibilities together for the first time. Therapists are trained to help you get through this overwhelming period of being a new mom.
As a new mom, lack of sleep is often the norm. Babies simply don’t follow adult schedules, and they’ll fuss whenever they want to fuss. This often leads to little more than broken naps that often leave one feeling like they never slept at all.
Moms need sleep, too, particularly because sleep deprivation has a lot of negative consequences. It will often leave you in a bad mood and put you at risk for making bad decisions and impairments at work.
It’s particularly hard for women who still have to go to their jobs because this often means going to work with little to no rest. While sleep deprivation may be unavoidable depending on the circumstances, especially for single-parent households who don’t have the financial capacity or support to hire a nanny, there are still ways around this issue that your therapist may be able to help you with.
A new mom’s relationship with her child is a beautiful thing that has been written and sung about for over a millennium, but it’s not always perfect. Attachment theory proposes that humans are born with an inherent need to form a close emotional bond with their caregivers that develops during the first six months depending on the caregiver’s responses.
There’s no perfect way to develop a secure attachment with your child, which makes the first six months extremely important but also a shot in the dark. You want your child to develop a secure attachment and learn how to trust and have healthy self-esteem, but often, new moms make a few mistakes that end with their child developing insecure attachment instead.
This leads to several patterns of a generally negative parent-child relationship. If this is a major concern for you and you’re not sure what to do, going to online therapy may help you plan out your reactions and help you develop a more secure attachment with your child.
How Can Therapy Help?
Moms are strong creatures, but no one ever said you have to deal with depression, stress, and anxiety all on your own. If you’re having a hard time being a new mom, it’s okay to ask for help.
Therapy for new moms may help ease your transition to motherhood and help you learn more about yourself and your child. Here are some of the common types of therapy that are offered for new moms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is best for treating anxiety. If you’re a new mom struggling with anxious thoughts about not being enough, not doing well, or not developing a secure attachment with your child, CBT may help you navigate those thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic thinking patterns. CBT also helps new moms develop healthier coping strategies to deal with distress.
Solution-focused brief psychotherapy
Solution-focused brief psychotherapy is your friend when you’re concerned about a specific problem and want to fix it fast. This therapy focuses on the present, highlighting the new mom’s strengths and skills as opposed to exploring past events. In a sense, this therapy focuses on finding solutions instead of solving problems.
Being a new mom can be overwhelming, but knowing that you’re not alone in your struggle helps some people. Group therapy focuses on the role of community, gathers people with similar issues and experiences, and helps them learn from each other.
A group therapy session must be facilitated by one or more trained psychotherapists. The dynamics within the group are used to help identify problems and interpersonal distress. The goal of group therapy is to help give new moms a safe space to be heard and learn that they aren’t alone. This also gives them opportunities to talk about and share ideas regarding stress management, how to cope, and what it’s like to be a new mother.
Couples therapy provides a safe space for partners to air out their issues and concerns during a time of crisis or distress. This kind of therapy often involves recurring negative thought patterns and helping their partners learn communication and listening strategies. This will help them get through their relationship challenges.
Having a child is a huge change, and it’s not something everyone can adjust to very well, particularly in the beginning. New parents are treading through new ground, and making mistakes is the norm.
Going to therapy for moms can help you build a healthier relationship with your partner and help you learn how to cope with the changes without sacrificing your own mental health or your relationship.
What About Online Therapy?
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, going to face-to-face therapy is a challenge in and of itself. While in-person therapy is still vastly helpful, people are looking for more accessible options to get therapy.
This is where online counseling comes in. Not only is it more affordable than in-person therapy, it’s also more accessible and convenient. Online counseling also offers more flexibility in terms of time since it removes the need to travel to meet your therapist.
Certain forms of therapy, like CBT, also translate well into online therapy, so if you’re worried about effectiveness – don’t be. Research suggests online therapy may be as effective as in-person therapy.
Online therapy also provides you with optional anonymity, so if you’re not comfortable disclosing your identity while getting online therapy, you always have the option of withholding details.
What’s the Bottom Line?
As a mom, you’re expected to hold things together when things get rough. Your child depends on you for survival and affection, but it’s also important to take care of yourself.
Getting help from licensed therapists can help you navigate motherhood issues more easily. Aside from new moms, women who struggle with infertility, who are trying to conceive, who’ve just had a miscarriage, or who are trying IVF may also benefit from online therapy.
If you’re a woman struggling with mental health and pregnancy concerns, it’s okay to ask for help. At DoMental, you can get professional help from the comfort of your own home. Whatever your concerns are, there are licensed therapists ready to hear you out and help you.